IN RE: SYNGENTA MIR 162 CORN Litigation
The Lyon Firm is actively representing numerous Ohio farmers for business losses suffered when Syngenta prematurely released MIR 162 into the U.S. corn supply without first obtaining China’s approval for the genetic trait. When China rejected the trait, the U.S. Corn market and local farmers suffered substantial business losses as the corn prices fell.
If your farm has suffered losses due to the decline in corn prices in 2013 and 2014, call our offices today for a no cost consultation at (800) 513-2403 to learn more about your legal rights. There are strict deadlines approaching that may limit the time to file a claim.
I. INTRODUCTION SUMMARY:
This is a Supply & Demand case. When global demand drops, prices drop, and farmers are damaged financially. The Syngenta Litigation is about Syngenta’s introduction of a new genetically engineered strain of corn (MIR 162) into the U.S. market without first obtaining the approval from all key export markets –i.e., China. The litigation seeks recovery for the financial harm to the U.S. corn market that resulted when China began rejecting shipments of U.S. corn in November, 2013.
From 2009 to 2014, Syngenta sold MIR 162 under the names “Agrisure Viptera” and “Agrisure Duracade.” While only 3% of the U.S. corn acreage grew Syngenta’s GMO corn, China rejected over 131 million bushels of U.S. corn due to commingling and contamination of the corn supply with MIR 162. As a result of the commingling, all U.S. corn growers, exporters, and grain elevators were foreclosed from the Chinese market causing losses to all of those involved in the U.S. corn industry. The exception was Syngenta which profited from the sales of its product.
II. SYNGENTA VIOLATED INDUSTRY STANDARDS:
The industry standard requires biotechnology companies such as Syngenta to obtain pre-market approval for new genetic traits from all key export markets. The purpose behind this standard is to account for the difficulty of preventing commingling and risk of disruption of global supply and demand if one key export market (e.g., China) opts to not approve a new trait.
Previously, Syngenta had joined other biotechnology companies in representing and committing to the grain industry that it would not commercialize genetically engineered seeds in the U.S. that had not been approved for import by major foreign markets. Syngenta, arguably motivated by the expiring patent life, elected not to stand by those commitments.
III. MOTIVATION TO SELL WITHOUT APPROVAL:
Syngenta has been working on MIR 162 for decades. Prior to 2009, Syngenta’s market share was lagging behind its competitors, and its 20 year patent period (the period where it would be able to obtain monopoly profits) was in its final few years. Syngenta could have delayed the release of MIR 162 until all key export markets had agreed to accept the trait, but elected to take a risk to avoid any delays on the sales. The risk though was paid for by the U.S. markets and not Syngenta. The litigation will force Syngenta to take responsibility for the economic harm it caused.
IV. INDUSTRY CRITICISM OF SYNGENTA:
Mark Stonacek, President of Cargill:
• “Unlike other seed companies, Syngenta has not practiced responsible stewardship by broadly commercializing a new product before receiving approval from a key export market like China…
• Sygenta also put the ability of U.S. Agriculture to serve global markets at risk, costing both Cargill and the entire U.S. agricultural industry significant damages…
• [S]eed companies, farmers, grain handlers, exporters and others have a shared responsibility to maintain and preserve market access when introducing new technology…
• The risks — as well as the rewards—need to be shared across the marketplace by all stakeholders… Syngenta has not accepted its share of the risks associated with MIR 162…Sygenta’s actions are inconsistent with industry standards and the conduct of other biotechnology seed companies…
• Marketing MIR 162 before receiving approval from China closed off that significant export market to U.S. farmers and exporters…
• Cargill believes that Syngenta continues to not accept its role in shared responsibility by moving ahead this year with the commercialization of Duracade, which also is not approved in China and other key export markets.”
V. SYNGENTA’S STATEMENTS:
Michael Mack, CEO, Syngenta:
• During the 2012 first quarter earnings conference call regarding the status of Chinese approval of Viptera, Mr. Mack stated: “[t]here isn’t outstanding approval for China, which we expect to have quite frankly within the matter of a couple days . . . we know of no issue with that whatsoever…”